Friday, May 4, 2012

Texas Trails: A Morgan Family Series by Moody Publishers

Texas Trails- A Morgan Family Series 
This six book series about four generations of the Morgan Family. They live, fight and thrive amidst a turbulent Texas history spanning from 1845 to 1896. It looks like three books will be released this fall and the last three in the spring.
Book 1: Lone Star Trail by Darlene Franklin
Lone Star Trail is the beginning of an adventure. If the next five books follow in the same steps this is a series worthwhile reading. It has adventure, romance, danger, heartache and more.


The Morgan family horse ranch is on the outskirts of Victoria, Texas. They raise a special breed of horses called Morgan horses. Bill Morgan died in a war nine years before and the previous year Billie, the youngest sister, went missing and they assume the Comanche's killed her. Judson is the eldest and in charge. He hates all the German immigrants taking over his Texas lands and is quite prejudice against them.

The Fleischer's have just arrived in America after months on the ship. They had land waiting for them in Neu-Braunfels, a German community in Texas started by Prince Carl of Braunfels. The family arrived in Carlshafen, Texas. Wande Fleischer is planning on marrying her love, Konrad. Things do not go as planned though.

Wande starts thinking America is taking too much from her family. Her sister dies shortly after they land, their wagon breaks and her mother gets hurt. They end up staying with the Morgan's who live near where they broke down. She finds out Konrad has married someone else so they decide to stay in Victoria.

There are many stories told. Jud is attracted to Wande but struggles with his dislike for immigrants. Tom Cotton works on the ranch and is courting Marion Morgan, Jud's sister. Georg Fleisher and Ertha.
A cholera epidemic hits Victoria and another war against Mexico breaks out. It has a lot of real life in this book where not everything is happy ever after. It is well written though and a good story. 
**Book received through NetGalley for review.
Book 2: Captive Trail by Susan Page Davis
www.susanpagedavis.com

The second book in the Texas Trail – Morgan Family Series continues in the excellence of the first book. In Lone Star Trail we know that Billie Morgan and her horse were gone, Comanche's. They continued searching for her but assumed she may be dead. She was nine years old at the time.



Taabe Waipu is escaping the Comanche camp. She had an opening for escape and took it. She would not marry Peca and be tied down to the Numinu for the rest of her life. Pia had been her sister since she was taken all those years ago and she loved her and the baby but Chano, Pia's husband, thought she should marry Peca, a warrior who enjoyed raiding. Taabe took one of the fastest horses from the six Peca had left at their home as a way of asking for marriage and left with all the speed she could. Several days later the horse fell into a hole and Taabe was thrown off. She awoke in pain and the horse was gone.



Ned Bright and his partner, Patrillo Garza who went by Tree, live on a ranch with run a stagecoach from it. Tree is a widower with four rambunctious sons and Quinta, the nine year old daughter, was already a wild cat and a spoiled one at that. Tree is now the station agent at the Bright-Garza Station and Ned was the driver of the stagecoach from their ranch to Fort Chadbourne, delivering mail and any paying customers. It was his first day. Their passengers were not ones who would pay though, two Sister's going to open a girls school.



When Ned and Brownie, the shotgun rider, seen a body in the road they were concerned it was a trap. When Sister Natalie jumps out of the coach and heads for it Ned makes quick work of getting there first. It is a woman. The Sister's insist she stay at the Mission house.



The Fort's Captain sends out feelers for missing girls to see if they can discover who Taabe really is. She no longer speaks or understands English. She was punished in the early days of her capture if she spoke English. Many people go to the Fort and then are taken to the Mission to see if Taabe is their daughter, even if the description did not match these people were desperate to find their missing children.



A really good historical adventure with a touch or romance. The threat of Indian raids, not always knowing who you could trust, Taabe's struggle with the language and adjusting between the Indiana and white world. Looking forward to the next four books in this series. The first two are excellent even as they are written by two different authors.


**Book received through NetGalley for review

Book 3: Lone Trail Home by Vickie McDonough
Riley Morgan is a nephew to Jud Morgan & Billie Morgan from book 1 & 2. His father, Calder had moved the family from Victoria area to Waco. When Riley's little brother, Timothy had died he took off and joined the army. Four years later he is heading home. When he reaches the family ranch he realizes life will not be the same ever again, bad things had happened while he was gone. When he goes to see his fiance he finds she had married as someone else. Tired, worn and smelly he goes and asks if he can help repair some fences and such at the Wilcox School for the Blind in exchange for food. Laura Wilcox offers him room and board in the barn if he will stay on and help. Many of the ex-soldiers had turned to raiding homes and it would be good for them to have a man around. So Riley stays.



Annie Sheffield had a new life for the past seven years, the only problem was she had to pretend to be blind. As a youngster her father took her from town to town. They earned their food by stealing. In Waco that first night he pushed her to steal a watch from a young man. She had heard a street preacher a few months back say stealing was a sin and she no longer wanted to do it, and this watch was special to the young man. But if she wanted to eat and not get her pa angered, she would do it. After stealing the watch and hiding out for a night, Annie discovered her pa had left her. That was when she saw the kids at the school were all fed, clean and dressed well. Laura knew she could see but the rules to live in the home were only blind children. When Riley came into the picture it changed Annie's life. She could not do many of the chores she had done without him noticing she was not blind. But he stayed on.



Laura also has a story. At thirty-four she is still single. The man she loved years ago made her choose between him or the school. She felt a strong calling to start the school and help the children to learn to live the best they could with their blindness. Sean Murphy was a blacksmith in town and Laura would see him at church but they never spoke. After all those years could a spark remain between them?



This story also shows how capable people can be even with a disability. Instead of being coddled and useless these children in the school are taught to do chores and live a life as normal as possible.



These first three books of this series are all so well written. They flow together as if there is one author. And they don't shy away from real life. There is death and diseases. Good and bad people. Love and hate. War and peace. There will be three more books coming out in 2012 by these same three authors.


**Book recevied through NetGalley for review.

Book 4: A Ranger's Trail by Darlene Franklin
I have enjoyed all the books in this series so far. They all do have romance but that is more of a background to the historical part of the book. This book has The Mason County range war or “Hoo Doo” war. When some Anglos were acquitted of cattle rustling the German's took it into their own hands to meter out justice. When they kill Anglo Tim Williamson though, Scott Cooley resigns from the Texas Ranger begins taking revenge on the men who killed his friend.

In the midst of this battle we meet up with Buck Morgan, son of Jud and Wande. Buck is the oldest son and his father would like him to take over the ranch but Buck has wanderlust and it's let him to become a Texas Ranger. His latest assignment is to find the group of men responsible for the hanging of Derrick Denning. Buck goes to the widow, Leta Denning, to find more information and soon feels God's call to help her out. She was left with her six year old son and teenage brother. Buck finds himself caught between a woman he is starting to care for and that his own relatives may have been involved in the war.

Leta Denning don't want to trust anyone but she finds herself depending on Buck more and more. He has helped around the ranch and trained a horse for her son. Leta is full of hatred and unforgiveness towards the Germans who took her husbands life. She does not realize how her hate has been planted into Ricky and Andy until it's too late.

There are so many side stories as in all the books and lots of adventure. There are storms and cattle rustling but most of all is the strength of how much hate prejudice can drive into people hearts until they just don't see the truth.

These books are stand alone but if you enjoy series and want the whole picture I would suggest reading the series from book one.
1- Lone Star Trail by Darlene Franklin
2- Captive Trail by Susan Page Davis
3- The Long Trail Home by Vickie McDonough
Two more books follow this one; A Cowgirl's Trail and End of the Trail (April & June releases)
**Received from NetGalley for review.
Book 5: Cowgirl Trail by Susan Page Davis
This is the 5th book in a six book series written by three different authors. In Cowgirl Trail we find that the cowpunchers on Rocking P Ranch are wanting to strike. Mr. Porter won't let them have a few head of cattle like he had in the past and he refuses to raise their pay. Alex Bright is caught between loyalty to his boss and the men. And mostly Alex's heart. Maggie Porter has just returned home after two years. As the ranch foreman now, Alex was hoping she'd notice him in a more personal way. Like he noticed her. The way things were going it looked like any hope between them was being torn away. After a cold hearted decision by Martin Porter the choice is made to strike.

Maggie Porter thought that maybe her feelings she had for Alex since she was thirteen were only a young girls crush, but now as a young woman she knows they are true. Only he won't stand up to the men for her dad and her dad has issues that he is too proud to share with his men, thus leading up to this turmoil. When everything seems to be falling apart, Maggie and her friend Carlotta decide they will get a group of Cowgirl's to round up the rest of the cattle and to drive them to Fort Worth.

At this point in history the cattle drive is not as far. They need to get to Fort Worth and the train delivers them the rest of the way. There still are dangers and with growth in the area they are not as free to travel over land like the old days. But the threat of the Indian's no longer existed. Another exciting adventure in this series. Alex is the son of Billie and Ned Bright. Billie's story is in the second book. She had been kidnapped by the Indian's as a young girl and not found until she was quite a bit older.

If you enjoy adventures, check out Susan's other books. She has a great series that takes you on a journey down the Oregon Trail. I find her writing to be descriptive enough that I feel I have been in the wagon train or on the cattle drive.
**Received through NetGalley for review.
Book 6: End of the Trail by Vickie McDonough
In book 3 of this series: Lone Trail Home, we met Riley Morgan who had married Anne Sheffield. They lived near Waco, Texas. This book is about Brooks Morgan, their oldest son.
After being a bit too spoiled as a youngster, Brooks has become a bit of a lazy boy by age sixteen. In a moment of anger he takes off on his horse, Jester. Ten years later we find Brooks too stubborn to face his family, broke and in a hail storm. He meets Will Langston, a man who is dying and needs help. Just a short time later Brooks has buried his friend, gained a ranch, and is about to walk into a heap of trouble. Not only from a greedy man wanting his ranch but also from a woman he promised to take care of. At the time he thought Keri was livestock, not a beautiful young woman.

Keri Langston hated the school in Georgia Uncle Will sent her to. Soon she could be back on Raven Creek Ranch, with Uncle Will and out of the fancy dresses and back into her britches with her Winchester and horse. That was the plan. Instead she finds her Uncle Will is dead and some smiling handsome gambler now owns her home. She don't give up easy but neither do those around her. Dengler the neighbor wanting the ranch nor Carl Peters who has wanted to be her beau for years. Between their pride and stubbornness can these two people find not only love for each other but to allow themselves to see God's love in their lives?

I really enjoyed End of the Trail. Vickie brought the characters to life and we got to see Brooks mature right in front of us. Taking care of Will taught him some responsibility. It also brought the real life fact into the book how pride can keep us from doing the right thing and selfishness can stop us from thinking about anyone but ourselves. Poor Riley & Anne never knew for ten years whether Brooks was alive or dead. I also enjoyed when Keri was in Georgia learning to be a lady. They just couldn't take the Texan out of her. The book also shows how parents do what is best for us, sometimes we don't get to see the whole picture until much later in life...as Keri did. Just a great story all the way around.

This is the last book in this series. The trails have been long and tough and filled with violence, hate, prejudice, death and greed. But they have been filled with good things as well. We watched as the Morgan Family grew and spread out, where God blessed them in some ways and walked with them through sorrow to make them stronger in other ways. If you enjoy history, adventure and romance all in one...this series is worth the time to read. The three authors have come together in their writing these six books to put these great stories together.
********************

2 comments:

  1. Judy, thank you for featuring the Texas Trails series. Darlene, Vickie and I had a great time writing these books. Readers can learn more about them (watch a video trailer, see a family tree and map, and find discussion questions) at:
    www.texastrailsfiction.com . Enjoy!
    Susan

    ** This comment is from Susan Page Davis, not JudyDV. I just posted it for Susan.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Judy,

    I'm glad you're enjoying our series so much. Working together with a team of writers has challenges you don't face when writing a series on your own, but this was a fun group to work with. Thank you for posting these reviews.

    ReplyDelete